Meet Rena Ando '25

Meet Rena Ando '25

Rena Ando ‘25 is passionate about music and performance. A boarding student from Tokyo, Japan, Rena discovered her love of music as a child and has kept music at the center of her life ever since. At Govs, Rena plays violin in the orchestra and small ensemble. She recently performed in the 70th Annual Massachusetts All-State Concert at Symphony Hall and plans to travel to Greece this summer to perform with the New England Conservatory. Rena took time from her busy academic schedule of AB Calculus AP, AP Music Theory, US History, Honors Chemistry, and Honors Spanish III to share more of her story with Govs.

GOVS: How long have you been playing violin? Do you play other instruments?

RENA: I have been playing the violin for fourteen years. I was inspired to start playing the violin after seeing the incredible performance of a Japanese violinist named Ryu Goto on television when I was two years old. His mastery of the instrument and the emotions he conveyed through his music left a strong impression on me. I also played piano and flute for a few years and have learned some other instruments, but my main instrument has been violin. 

GOVS: Making it into the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA)* All-state Orchestra is a tremendous accomplishment. How did you prepare for the auditions? 

RENA: I usually practice about 15 hours a week after dinner on weekdays and have a lesson and rehearsal at the New England Conservatory on Saturdays. However, I was unable to practice much before the audition for the MMEA All-State Orchestra, but the practice I have done over the past years helped me get into the orchestra. 

GOVS: How did it feel to perform at Symphony Hall? 

RENA: We performed to a packed house at Symphony Hall and received a standing ovation! At that moment, I felt like the violin rewarded me in deeply fulfilling ways. I was satisfied, but it motivated me to practice more and hopefully return to Symphony Hall to perform again. 

GOVS: What other interests do you have at Govs or outside school?

RENA: I go to the New England Conservatory every weekend, and our orchestra will tour Greece this summer, performing at Thessaloniki, Larissa, and Athens. I am excited to perform in Europe and have new experiences with my friends. 

GOVS: Are there teachers, coaches, or fellow students who you admire at Govs?

RENA: I admire Declan (Mr. Seifkas) so much. I have him for AP Music Theory, and he drove me to all the MMEA rehearsals. I love how he is very supportive. If I have any problems, I always talk to him, and he takes time to listen and help to the best of his abilities. After every performance, he greets us with the biggest hug and the brightest smiles to congratulate us on our achievements. I'm really grateful that I met a teacher like him during my time at Govs. 

GOVS: You are also juggling a busy academic schedule - how do you like to spend your free time?

RENA: I love sleeping. Every time my roommate, Phi, came into our room, she would see me on the bed! I also love eating ramen; my favorite is Shin Ramen, which I put in the microwave for ten minutes to soften the ramen. It’s amazing. 

GOVS: Do you have any other passions outside of music?
RENA: Yes, I do! One of my interests lies in medicine. Science has always enthralled me, but what truly draws me to medicine is my history of spending a lot of time in hospitals since I was young. My deep connections with doctors and nurses shaped my desire to pursue medicine. 

GOVS: What was a moment of courage for you at Govs or outside of school?

RENA: When I became the International Student Alliance (ISA) leader, I was required to make an announcement in front of the whole school. I have performed violin in front of so many people in my life, but public speaking is something I have never done, nor do I like. Having experienced being a leader allowed me to learn important skills and grow as a person. The opportunity made me realize the importance of trying new things that are outside my circle. 

GOVS: What advice would you give to new students?

RENA: Keep exploring new things and embrace opportunities that come your way. 

*About MMEA:

The Massachusetts Music Educators Association supports comprehensive, innovative, quality music education for all students by providing leadership, resources, and best professional practices for music educators. 

“The Massachusetts All-State Concert is a unique opportunity for our young musicians to showcase their talent and dedication on a prestigious stage under the leadership of renowned conductors. Symphony Hall provides a backdrop that enhances the grandeur of their performances and creates lasting memories. 

We are excited to witness the culmination of their hard work and commitment to musical excellence. Beyond the joy of watching our students shine, there is a deeper significance to this event. The impact of the Massachusetts All-State Concert extends far beyond the walls of Symphony Hall. It serves as a reminder of the vital role that music education plays in the holistic development of our students.

Our music educators have been instrumental in making this event possible. Their unwavering support, guidance, and passion for music have fueled the artistic growth of our young musicians. Through countless hours of practice, rehearsal, and mentorship, they have sculpted a musical experience that is nothing short of extraordinary.” — MMEA President Anthony Beatrice